My New Book, and The End of My Online Secret Identity

Not A MatchCOVERJPGMy name is Brian Donovan, and I am an online dater. For some of my readers, those who have been following my other writing on Thought Catalog, that’s not much of a revelation. I’ve written about it over there frequently. For those who’ve been reading me here at It’s Not a Match, it probably comes as a bit of a surprise. Because until today, as you well know, I’ve been writing this anonymously. No names, no pictures, no women hating me for writing about them online. But with the release of my new ebook, Not a Match: My True Tales on Online Dating Disasters, that’s changed. It’s the end of an era. That’s right, I’m going to finally attach my name to my ridiculous online dating exploits. Yippee! I think!

For those of you who are new to INaM, I ‘ve been dating online for years, and have gone on at least 100 dates. I say “at least,” because actually I’ve entirely lost count of how many, and chances are it’s far more than 100. I know, I sound like a scandalous ladies’ man. To dissuade yourself of that notion however, simply click on my Thought Catalog archives. My favorites things to write about over there are my cat and The Gilmore Girls. Bea Arthur is more of a ladies’ man than I am. But I wanted to find the girl of my dreams, and so logically the first thought that jumped into my head was, “she’s probably hiding inside of a computer!” So I’ve used Match and OkCupid on and off since college, and have amassed quite a slew of stories. There’s the girl who caught on fire, the girl who brought her boyfriend on our date, even the girl who confronted me on national TV. Plus a lot of great advice, that will hopefully allow you to have a less tragic romantic life than I do. It’s all in the book…that you’re gonna buy a few copies of for yourself, then buy some for friends, and family, and strangers in the street, and even some dead people, and probably a few stuffed animals. My book does particularly well with stuffed animals.

But the real question is, why am I doing this now? I’ve kept myself secret this long (except for a few enterprising readers who somehow figured it all out), so I certainly could’ve written my book under a pen name. And believe me, I seriously considered it.  My reasoning was this: what woman would ever go out with a guy who might gab about it afterwards online? Especially on an internet date. I mean, there’s at least a 25% chance anyone you meet on OkCupid is going to be a psychopath to begin with. Then if you throw in the possibility that he’s gonna write about you on his blog, add on the price of gas, parking, and the time it takes to get ready, and screw it–you might as well stay home and watch House Hunters. Or, just a suggestion, The Gilmore Girls. If I openly wrote about dating, would my dating life be finished? In early trials, it seemed like it would.

When I first started It’s Not a Match, I had an optimistic full-honesty policy, which required me to tell women about the site before meeting them in person. That way, no one would feel hoodwinked and freak out. No big deal, right? Wrong. Very big deal. Here are some of the responses I received after telling women about this little bad boy. Keep in mind that before this revelation, the conversations were going quite well…

“Are you fucking kidding me?!”

“My brother’s a writer! But I really don’t want to go out with you anymore.”

“Sorry, but no way.”

“Really? That’s cool. No thanks!”

“Is everyone online such a freak?!”

“I want my money back.”

This pretty much sums up how they felt...

This pretty much sums up how they felt…

I wasn’t sure what money she was referring to, but I sent her a check anyway. Seemed like the least I could do. And these were the women who took my news well. Most of them just stopped talking to me altogether. Honestly though, I don’t blame ‘em one bit. I never lie here, and I’ve always changed my date’s names and identity as much as possible, but still, I’m not sure if even I would’ve wanted to go out with me. Especially with all the blabbering about my cat. I mean really, it never stops. So as an emergency measure, honesty was shelved, and I ceased telling my dates about my writing until things got serious. And even then, it was broached carefully, and none of them were particularly thrilled. So what’s changed? Why have I now decided to come out of the internet dating closet? For one, I don’t date anywhere near as much as I used to, so the effect is minimized. But more importantly, I realized that the right woman for me will understand what I’m doing. She knows that I’m a writer, that sometimes it’ll be about my life, and that, for better or worse, it comes with the territory. Is she throwing a parade and telling her friends and family with glee in her in voice? No she is not. But she tolerates what I do, and on occasion maybe it even makes her smile. I have found a few such women already, and every time I am amazed at their greatness. Ah, great women. They’re just sensational, aren’t they? I have no idea why they tolerate us being such goons…

So I’m going out on a limb here, but I hope it’s worth it. For those of you who have been reading the site for a while, I promise you’ll love the book. It’s got all my classic stories, revamped, rewritten, and punched up to add extra humor and truthiness. From now on, it’ll be the only place to read some of my most popular pieces: The Girl Who Was a Mennonite, Crafting the Perfect Email, and The Sex Crier and others. If you don’t like the book, I’ll give you your money back. I mean, I won’t, but it feels like the right thing to say in the moment. But I hope you’ll get the book. A few sheckles will help me keep writing this site, and buying drinks for women who do funny things that I can run home and tell you guys all about.

So, yeah. Hi, I’m Brian. It’s nice to meet you all.

To Buy Not a Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters on Amazon, click HERE.

For Your Ipad, Get It In the iBookstore HERE.

Or, if you’re frightened by technology and would rather read it on your computer, click HERE

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Ever Been Dumped Because of the Homeless? I Have!

It’s hard to know when you’ve really hooked a girl. Is it when she first laughs at one of your jokes? Or after that first kiss goodnight? Or, maybe, is it the first time you have this timeless romantic exchange…

Me: So, would you rather date me, or a homeless person?

Her (long pause): At this point, I’m really not sure.

That’s when you know you’re in love. How do you get there? Read on…

I had been on three dates with Rosie, and for the fourth I wanted to spice things up a little. We’d done drinks, dinner, and she’d come over to my place to watch a movie. The best thing about inviting a girl to your place to watch a DVD is that you might as well ask, “wanna come over and make out?” You never actually watch the DVD when you ask someone to come over and watch a DVD. What, I’m going to sit on a couch in private next to someone who’s interested in me and has breasts and just stare at a TV screen? I don’t think so. We should just change the phrase “wanna match a DVD?” to “wanna go to at least second base?” But I digress…

So, in an effort to show Rosie that I’m not a complete horndog, I invited her to a nice, respectable afternoon at a movie theater. With the old folks, and the kids, and the matinée prices (I gotta get something out of the deal, right?). Not only that, but I tell her to pick whatever movie she’d liked. What a wonderfully sweet and considerate idea, right? Right. And then she picked My Sister’s Keeper.

Please kill me.

My Sister’s Keeper is for all the people who’ve loved Cameron Diaz’s fine comedic work, but were wondering how she’d do in something more serious, like, say, playing the mother of a girl dying of Leukemia. The answer to that riddle, incidentally, is terribly. She does terribly as the mother of a child who’s dying of Leukemia. So bad, in fact, that at a certain point, people in my theater started rooting for the Leukemia. “Come on, take her already! Don’t make her sit through another Cameron monologue – she’s just a child!” I didn’t expect Rosie to pick such a, well, bad movie for our date, but I offered, so it serves me right. And looking back on it, My Sister’s Keeper was easily the highlight of the afternoon.

After finishing the film, Rosie and I decided to get a drink, in the hopes of forgetting what we’d just been through. On the way to the bar we walked by a homeless man who asked for change. She stopped and gave him what looked like a handful of quarters, I gave him…nothing. Rosie waited, as if the message sent from my brain to my hands telling them to take out dollars and hand them over just hadn’t arrived yet. Finally…

Rosie: Do you not give money to homeless people?

Me: Uh…

…which is an awkward enough conversation without having to do it immediately in front of an actual homeless person. So I tried to keep walking a little bit ahead, out of the Artful Dodger’s earshot, but Rosie wasn’t having it. Turns out the sort of person who wants to see a movie about kids dying of Leukemia is also the sort of person who will interrogate the ever-loving shit out of anyone who doesn’t hand over their wallet to the first dirty individual they find lying in the street. Who woulda thought?

The amount I give to charity. Daily.

Rosie (getting louder): Come on, you can spare a little something…

Me (getting quieter): I give to charity, I just don’t believe in giving to people on the street.

Rosie: Right, sure you do. Give him some money!

When you’re on the precipice of an argument outside, your natural instinct is to go inside. “Come on, people are looking at us out here, let’s go inside.” And, when you’re on the precipice of argument inside, you feel like you’ve just got to get outdoors. “Come on, everyone can hear us in here, can we just go outside?!” I desperately wanted to get Rosie in the bar, while she wanted to harass me in the street. I won, but that would be the only time that day. It’s alright, I’m used to it…

Rosie: It doesn’t bother you that he’s hungry and you could help him get food?

Me: No, it bothers me that he’s thirsty and I could be helping him get booze. I heard an interview on This American Life saying that there’s countless soup kitchens in New York-

Rosie: Oh, so NPR says it’s fine to ignore the homeless, so that’s what you do?

Ira Glass would totally have my back

Me: No. (Thinking: Yes.)

(And, yes, I recognize it’s an annoying liberal douchebag thing to do to say you heard something on public radio that allows you to be selfish and piggy, but, well, I really did hear it.)

Now everyone in the snooty little bistro that, I might add, makes a rather ironic choice for my bleeding heart date, was staring at us. At that point, I would’ve killed for another hour of My Sister’s Keeper. Give Cameron another daughter and this time let her have palsy! She continued…

Rosie: Look, it’s just…I feel really strongly about homeless people. They need our help, and so many people won’t help them just because they assume they’re drunks. But they’re not always…

And that was, to be frank, when I kinda zoned out. I mean, this was just weird. Rosie was a cool girl and all, and I’m genuinely as guilt-ridden as the next liberal, but our first fight being about homeless people was a little too much. She kept going on and on, and I kept not listening, so as it became clear that she was going to stop talking any moment, I had to come up with an answer. I had the chance to be sensitive and supportive and apologize for my actions and my “misunderstanding”, or I could be snarky and obnoxious. I think you remember how this one turns out…

Me: So, would you rather date me, or a homeless person?

Rosie (long pause): At this point, I’m really not sure.

That night there would be no watching of DVDs.

Posted in Horror Stories | 19 Comments

Question: Is This Man a Scumbag?

When we last saw Max...

When we last saw Max…

Loyal readers may remember Max, a man who caused quite a stir some months with a story about standing up his date. You should read the piece here, because it’s awesome, but the long and the short of it is: Max discovered his date was far heavier than she claimed on her profile, so he stood her up. Skipped the date. No text, no nothing. You folks, as a whole, were not pleased. But that’s not where the story ended…

I got back in touch with Max recently as I was putting together my book, to see if he had any new adventures to offer. Unfortunately they didn’t make into the book (Not a Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters, available in January for Kindles and Ipads! Plug Plug Plug Plug!), so I wanted to share them with you here. Because again, they’re amazing.

There was a time when I thought of Max as my alter-ego. We have the same powers, but I use mine for good, while he uses his for evil. He’s basically the Lex Luthor to my Superman, only I look terrible in tights and he’s not bald. But still–we have a similar approach. We both use first email templates, devote a lot of thought to finding the perfect first date bar, and accept that Internet dating is simply a numbers game. But, there are differences. Max charts his dating successes on a spreadsheet. He actively tries to get his dates drunk. And he is always prepared to sleep with a woman after the first date. Here’s what Max told me about his strategy for a first encounter:

"And our third bar is right around the corner here..."

“And our third bar is right around the corner here…”

For me, 3/4 of the battle [of every first date] is logistics.  The one advantage that [men] have is that we can plan everything. So I do. EVERYTHING. You know that feeling that you’re just hitting it off and everything seems so perfect? Because I made it that way. Every date I take you on is designed to move you around and get you drunk, and trust me, the planning can get elaborate. Why move [to different locations]? To make it seem like more time has passed than really has. If we go to 5 or 6 places on our first date it feels more like our 5th or 6th date and thus I’m way less of a stranger– [so] you should probably sleep with me. I detail my apartment before I leave too, completely prepping it should I return with my date. I go so far as to unscrew certain light bulbs to create a ramp of mood lighting from my front door to my room. I have a playlist for whatever music you like ready to go, only it starts out lively and ramps as well to shape a mood. I have crepe batter or something ready to go in case I promised you food to get you here. At this point I know what to say and do that victory is eminent.

OK, I’m guessing at this point you hate him. The phrase “victory is eminent,” is tough to get behind, I agree. But here’s my question: is this actually sleazy? Is it Lex Luthor’s Guide to Romance and Intercourse, or does Max simply care a great deal about his date going well? Many women agonize over countless details: the right outfit, the proper earrings, the perfect amount of “Kiss Me Damn It” attitude–is Max really any different? I mean, I’ve had ladies email me pictures, asking which hairstyle tells a guy, “I want you, but maybe not until the second date.” (My answer every time: A mullett.) They comes off as sweet, if a little deranged, so could Max be in the same category?

Here’s how he begins the courting:

My first move is before we ever meet. I know you’re not a fan of IM, but I use it if I don’t yet have a phone number for texting. What I do is propose a game. When she asks what, fully expecting it to be some super cheesy line, I send her a Youtube link to a music video and say, “you find the next one.” Then I’d just DJ with her for a half hour or so. Often I’d be playing with multiple ladies at once and would just send their links to each other. It’s an easy game, gives you stuff to talk about, ladies seem to love it, and it can make a girl meet you for the first time with a totally different attitude.

You're already turned on, aren't you?

You’re already turned on, aren’t you?

I gotta say, that’s pretty clever. What would you rather do: explain to someone exactly what your job in Human Relations and Data Resources entails, or find a funny John Cougar Mellencamp video to forward? Max’s DJ move breaks a conversation out of tedious small talk, and makes him memorable. The whole thing sounds pretty damn charming, if he weren’t resending the videos to other women he was simultaneously wooing in this theoretically spontaneous fashion. Scoundrel or simply resourceful? I still can’t decide.

Let’s see how Max handles the most romantic of all endeavors, the first kiss:

I only had one venue for first dates, and it was chosen for the stairs.  I’ll explain. On a first date, I’m looking to get the first kiss over with as soon as possible which is quite challenging. Conventional wisdom would have you kiss her at the door right before you leave, but that’s [not for me]. So these stairs are significant because they are a chance to shatter the physical barrier. I realize how stupid that sounds, but I swear by it. I would always wait outside the bar and would leave the “I’m here” texting to her. When I greeted her I’d always opt for the hug, then right after the hug we’d tackle the stairs, which didn’t have a railing and so were a tactical device for holding her hand thinly veiled in chivalry. I’m now 10 seconds into my date and look at all I’ve accomplished.  I’m now a 10% ABV pint and a story about robots or something away from a mid-date first kiss.

I’m sure you women out there are shocked and awed, yelling, “See! This is why guys are the worst!” And we are. If we’d just walked through the Sahara desert and had the choice  of either drinking a bottle of water or getting a framed photograph of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s boobs, we’d go JLH all the way. But ladies, you find the first date kiss to be frequently awkward and hard to negotiate too, right? So what’s wrong with taking the work out of things for everyone? I know Max’s Dirty Little Staircase of Love feels awful, but what’s really wrong with it, other than a Rain Manian attention to detail?

o-GEORGETOWN-EXORCIST-STAIRS-570I think it’s important to keep moving on a first date.  5 or 6 venues in a single date seems like much more time has gone by that actually has. It’s like 5 or 6 dates worth of memories all in the matter of a few hours. So after the first pint, I’d propose we go somewhere else, which in Milwaukee is code for chug your super alcoholic beer and let’s go do the stairs again. Without wasting any time I’d make my move right at the bottom of the stairs. With that out of the way dates feel more like dates and less like play dates.  From there I just keep switching venues and let things progress naturally.  All the important barriers have been broken and the way is clear for escalating into a romantic relationship.

And there you have it. The summation of Max’s itinerary for the perfect first date. Get a girl drunk, knock out a few light bulbs, push her down a staircase, then make her some crepes the next morning. Is it evil, or is it organization? Scumbag or sweetheart? OK, sweetheart might be pushing it. But I will submit, although it does make me a little jumbly inside, that I find nothing Max is doing to be wrong or immoral. You could call it manipulative, but I argue it’s just good planning. He’s not tricking a woman into anything, or forcing them into a bad situation, he’s simply doing everything he can to ensure a date succeeds. What bothers me the most is the effort to get his date drunk. It feels dirty, but then again, a sober date is almost never a fun date–so perhaps there is some benevolence even in that? I think what essentially makes this feels slimy is that Max has planned it all out, but lots of people have plan things. Accountants. Travel agents. Mailmen. They’re not dirty. Alright, maybe mailmen are a little dirty. But I think Max’s heart is in the right place, even if is mind is maybe working a bit too hard. What do you think? Is a hero or a villain?

But before you answer, let me say this. Max just let me know that this fall he met a woman online, using these very techniques, and they went crazy for each other. Things got serious fast, and now they live together. With brightly lit, totally stable staircases everywhere. Does that change your mind?

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Web Dating 101: Always Trust the Worst Picture

Let’s say you’re going out on a date with Meg Ryan, but have no idea what she looks like. Maybe you’re not a big movie person, or maybe you’re not a big shitty movie person, but the point is, you couldn’t pick Meg out of a crowd. So, being the conscientious dater she no doubt is, Meg sends you a few pics…

Wow. Cute, wholesome, I’m liking the sound of this.

Damn. A little older, a little sexier. Sign me up!

Holy Christmas! That is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I have no idea why she wants to go out with me, but I AM IN!


Three great pictures, all a little different, all splendid in their own right, and one hellacious photo of the Lip Monster from the Isle of Botox. So what do you do? You ignore the bad picture, figure she looks great in three-quarters of the photos and agree to get all Sleepless in Seattle with Meg on Friday night, right? WRONG.

Always Trust the Worst Picture. I can’t say this enough. Always Trust the Worst Picture. Every dating profile on the Internet has a mix of photos, some good, some bad, and we have to decide what the person actually looks like. I find that if I really like a lady’s personality, if we’ve established some quality email banter, then I’ll ignore the bad pictures, talk myself into the good, and head off optimistically for a sure-fire dating success. Then I see her in person and, realizing I that have an hour ahead with someone I’m not attracted to, mutter to myself, “Always trust the worst picture!”

Hooochi mochi…

I know this sounds pessimistic. Maybe it even sounds a little jerky. But people post their best pictures so you can see how hot they can ideally be, then they post the worst ones so you won’t be disappointed by the reality. I mean, come on, ask yourself this, “why would someone display a bad picture if it’s not what they look like?” Are they really as irresistible as the first three Meg photos, then they just added in the last one to balance shit out, so you don’t have an excitement heart attack on your way over? Or maybe they called up one of their computer buddies and said, “You know how I’m super hot? Well, I was wondering if you could take a picture of me and make it look entirely the opposite. Yeah, old, kinda crazy, with a real bird’s nest on my head. I’m thinking…one of Marge’s sisters from The Simpsons. Actually, you know what? Just make it look like I smell. Can you do that? Why? For Internet dating, you silly…”

It’s an understandable instinct to want to look as good as possible online. Some people, that’s where the instinct ends – so all their pictures are from two years ago, before they put on 15 lbs and lost their arm in a horrible tractor accident. Other daters know that it’s important to be truthful, and balance every great photo out with an average, everyday snapshot. Then there are the select few who are actually super hot and look as good as any picture every could. Those people are called “motherfuckers”, and they’re too busy at George Clooney’s Italian villa to date online.

So don’t complicate things. Ask yourself this simple question, “if he/she looks as only good as their worst picture, will I want to date them?” Because let’s be honest, they’re gonna look only as good as their worst picture. Don’t obsess over their profile trying to decipher which shot looks most accurate, which lighting seems more true. Just accept the facts and see where you stand. If you always trust the worst picture, you’ll be fine.

Oh, and if you get a chance, dress up like Einstein. I hear Meg’s into that…

Posted in Advice | 2 Comments

The Time I Created a Fake Woman’s Profile…

The hardest a woman has to work to get a date online.

Internet dating is pretty much made for the ladies, right? All you’ve got to do is throw up a couple of pictures, string together a few sentences that aren’t totally cliche, and wait for the emails to come rolling in. Sure, you’ll get plenty of messages from crazies, and old dudes, and people from other states, and people who don’t speak English, and people who just want to have sex with you, and people who just want you to have their babies, and people who just want to harvest your organs BUT once you delete those you’ll be left with some totally decent guys. Right?

I insisted that was right. And to a certain extent, I still do insist that is right. Internet dating, for being definitively modern, is still pretty old-fashioned. Men write women. It’s a one way street, plain and simple. Then the women decide whether they will write the men back, and the men sit and contemplate. Of course, ultimately, the jokes on them, because if she does decide to write back and they find each other irresistible, one day they might get married and then one day after that they might decide to have children so that one day after that she’ll have to pass an enormous being through a very small part of her body while he sits in the waiting room and drinks scotch and smoke cigars and very possibly wonders which of the nurses is hotter. So who’ll have egg on their face then, eh ladies? But for now, while it’s still just Internet dating, the women are definitely in the lead. I get one email a day, they get one email an hour. You decide who’s better off.

But I’ve asked women how they feel about this, and they beg to differ. Oh, how they beg to differ. Too many emails, they say, is far more burden than boon. It takes forever to go through them all, and if you have any hopes of finding the normal guy needles in the insanity haystack, you’ve really got to read each message. We should all have such problems. But still it’s an interesting point. And some insist, and these are very attractive women, mind you, that they don’t actually get as many messages as we lads might think. And these women are hot. I mean, I’ve dated them, so you know they must be prettttty foxy. Could it be that they’re too attractive, that men assume they’ll never write back, so they don’t even bother? Could these ladies possibly be right, that being an attractive single girl on a dating site is not all it’s cracked up to be? There was only one way to find out: put up a fake woman’s profile and see what happens. So that’s what I did.

A friend of mine had paid for his Match profile in advance, but had met a great girl and no longer needed it. Dying to find out what it was really like for the females, we jumped into action. We deleted his profile, images, everything – and replaced it with a woman we called SuzieQ. Her profile was smart – but not too smart. (Yeah, we know guys are dicks too.) We made her very approachable in terms of job, ambition, sense of humor – but also very desirable. And for her picture…well, we did what any self-respecting man in the computer age knows how to do: we typed “hot chick” into Google and clicked on “Images.” What we selected was something like this:


Hot, but in a wholesome, normal way, right? The fact that this actual woman is, I believe, a porn star is neither here nor there. So we put up her profile and you know what happened? The same thing that always happens. The women were right.

The responses SuzieQ received, in a word, sucked. The first day she probably got ten or fifteen emails, far less than I expected, and they were all deranged. There were several guys openly living in their mother’s basement, nearly all of them were weird looking, and none had respected poor Suzie’s age requirements. When women write 18-25 in their profile, do guys assume there’s a hidden x2 in there? There weren’t as many out-of-state emailers as I expected, but Staten Island was extremely well represented. Not since Jersey Shore has Staten Island been this well represented. But if there was one unifying principle in Suzie’s responses, it’s that were all pretty…boring. No one was funny or clever, no one was creative, no one seemed to really address her profile at all. It was just all vague, uninteresting blabber. And most of the messages were blatant copy and paste jobs. I felt so bad I wanted to write Suzie a note myself. Just so she doesn’t get down on herself, you know?

I too enjoy long walks on the beach!

The next few days were worse. The quality of the messages didn’t improve, and the numbers decreased rapidly. Pretty soon SuzieQ was getting one, maybe two emails a day. And to call them emails was generous. “Hey, you like underwear?” No sir, not in the way you’re asking, I don’t. After it was all said and done, my friend and I agreed there was only one or two guys that we would’ve responded to. That’s pretty, well, bleak.

Now, is that any worse than a man’s predicament? We don’t get many emails, and I assure you, almost all of them are awful. But what we don’t have is the pressure. It kinda hurts to read notes from 15 dudes who are hoping you’ll write them back. You feel bad hitting the delete button over and over on guys who’s league you are hopelessly out of, even if your league is an entirely fictional creation. Guys may have to do all the work, but it’s a guilt free endeavor. Either we succeed or we don’t, but we can forget about it and move on to the next battle. Women though, have to live with saying “no.”

I’ll take being a man any day. Plus, there’s that whole baby thing.

Posted in Internet Dating is Weird | 17 Comments

Big News — ‘It’s Not a Match’ Book On the Way!

“I’m reading the greatest thing ever written. And if you read it too, everyone will want to have sex with you!”

I have very exciting news to report! Last week I signed a deal for the long-awaited It’s Not a Match book. And by long-awaited, I mean not awaited at all by anyone, other than me and my cat. But nonetheless, it’s coming. It’s an ebook, being published by Thought Catalog, and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, and I don’t know, Bed Bath & maybe? In the “Beyond” section.

Seriously though, I’m putting together the book now, and it should be available the first week of January. It’ll include some of my favorite columns over the last 3 years, and some new stuff for you loyal readers. I’m very excited. I started this site in the hopes of turning my horrifying dating life long ago, and almost threw in the towel several times. But thanks to you all for continuing to read, comment, email, and share the site with your friends. You’ve kept It’s Not a Match going, hopefully for a long time to come.

While I’m working on the ebook, the site will be a little slower than usual. I’ll still try to post once a week, but it may be brief, or repeats, some preview columns from the book. But I’ll keep you all updated on the progress. Thanks for reading, you guys are the best!


(Oh, and yes, when the book comes out, I’ll no longer be anonymous. Scary!)

Posted in It's Not a Match Classic | 12 Comments

Can You Take an Internet Date to a Wedding?

“Do you vow to ruin everyone’s relationship in attendance?” “I do.”

Bringing a date of any kind to a wedding is risky. On paper, it should be a fun weekend. I mean, there’s fancy clothes, an open bar, and food that someone else paid for. It’s like going on a date with Boardwalk Empire. But the problem is, at some point in all the revelry, some asshole is gonna stand up and pledge their eternal love for someone else, making things real awkward for us single folks. Because it’s impossible to watch two other people get married and not turn to the person you’re dating and do your own little evaluation. Either you think: “Wow, I could see myself doing this with her one day,” or you think, “Wow, I wonder how fast I can find a taxi?” It’s one or the other. You can’t see two people marry, standing next to someone you could conceivably marry, and not consider the possibilities. Obviously, I’m being kind of a jerk about it, because I am kind of a jerk, but attending a wedding can be a watershed moment. I have several friends who admit to realizing their relationship was either doomed or blessed during someone else’s nuptials, even though they wouldn’t act on this discovery for months, or even years. So it’s crucial that you think carefully before inviting a date to a wedding. And it’s even more crucial if you met that date online. Because as we like to say here at It’s Not a Match, sometimes the people you meet on the Internet are fucking crazy.

After careful consideration, and extensive trial and error, these are the types of Internet dates you can safely bring to watch a couple get hitched.

“Would you like to go with me to a wedding?”

1) Someone You Just Met: Hear me out. I know that “So, what are you doing on Saturday? Wanna come to my buddy’s wedding?!” is not the standard second date invitation, but it can actually be surprisingly fun. Mostly because of how insane it is. You get to drink, and laugh, and get to know someone better, all while having an instant conversation starter. “So, how did you two meet?” “Oh, online. A week ago. I don’t even know her last name!” Soon enough you’ll be the kooky Internet couple that everyone at the wedding is rooting for. Like Rudy, but with sex. And the best part is, the wedding can’t put any pressure on your relationship, because you don’t actually have a relationship. It’s great. Except for one caveat. Weddings are long, and all of your friends will be invited. So if it goes bad, it’s gonna go bad real hard. Best of luck!

2) Someone Who Doesn’t Drink: I don’t know how many times I can say this: don’t bring a drinker to a wedding, don’t bring a drinker to a wedding, also, don’t bring a drinker to a wedding. Obviously your date doesn’t have to be a teetotaler, it’s probably better if they’re not, but nothing makes an ugly situation uglier than seven gin and tonics. And a little champagne. And a shot of tequila, because at some point some moron is going to suggest people start doing shots of tequila. I once got trapped in a drunk wedding conversation that nearly ended with a woman proposing to me while her husband was inside getting her coffee and calling their babysitter. And believe me, I’m not that charming. I don’t care if you met her on EHarmony a year ago and you think she might be the love of your life, think twice about inviting a boozehound to someone’s nuptials. No reason to tempt fate.

3) Someone You Met on Kettle of Fish: Because let’s be honest, that’s not going anywhere anyway.

4) Someone Who’s Never Been Divorced: I’ve never been divorced, but it seems that nothing underlines the pain of no longer being married quite like attending someone else’s wedding with a guy you met on the computer.

5) Someone You Like So Much That You Just Wanna Be Around, No Matter What Happens: Well isn’t that sweet. A genuine, positive, happy relationship. If you’re in one of these, Mr. Romance, go for it. Just make sure she feels the same way. Otherwise you’re gonna end up shooting tequila and looking for a taxi. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Posted in Advice, Internet Dating is Weird | 4 Comments

The Man Who Stalks Bad Dates

We like stupid jackets.

I threw down the gauntlet a few weeks back, and asked you readers to step up the insanity of your Internet dating game. And I’m not sure what this says about me and the sort of people I attract, but you were more than up to the task. “Huzzah,” I say, to all of us, and our ability to seek out lunacy and find it attractive just long enough to get a story out of it.

So far, the worst email I’ve gotten is this:

DUED, I went out with a girl last nt who loved Coldplay. WTFuck?

Now I appreciate the dedication, and any reader who takes the time to drop me a note is a reader I will love forever, but, well, “Dude” is not a very hard word to spell. And why bother abbreviating the “What The” if you’re just gonna throw the “Fuck” out there long-form anyway? Coldplay, on the other hand, is hard to get behind. They’re tolerable, but not the sort of thing you bring up on a first date. Coldplay fandom is the musical equivalent of lyme disease. No shame in having it, but you might wanna bury the lede on that one ’til date number two. I know this, because I admitted within the first few minutes of meeting a lady that I used to listen to the Dave Matthew’s Band. Her reaction was, more or less, “WTFuck.”

The best email I received, however, deals with far creepier, and therefore, more awesome matters. It’s from Kerrie, and it’s outstanding.

My horrifying story:

I met a guy on OKC a couple months ago. He was hilarious and interesting and cute so it took me longer than usual to realize how fucking crazy he was. At the end of the third date, the subject of online dating came up and I mentioned a funny anecdote about seeing my married co-worker on there posing as single. He proceeded to tell me that if I want to mess with said co-worker, he has several fake profiles that we could correspond with him through.

Now, I’m gonna stop Kerrie right there, because this, I have done. Not for the purpose of fucking with people, but just for genuine, sociological research. Ok, and also a little bit to fuck with people. But I’m a nice guy, and I’m guessing from Kerrie’s tone that we are soon about to find out that her guy was not nice…

He went on to tell me that he picks out “creepy” guys out online, messages them with a fake profile and even sets up dates with them. Fucked up, right? Yeah, no. He actually shows up to the fake date to watch the unsuspecting dude’s reaction to being stood up while text messaging him from a google voice number.

“No, I don’t come here often. I’m just here stalking that weird guy across the bar.”

And then he rapes and kills them, and then rapes them again after they’ve been killed? I expected him to turn out to be not nice, I didn’t expect him to turn out to be Ted Bundy. Look, we all see some creeps online and feel they should be taken down a notch. But do we feel it so strongly that we email them, set up a fake date, set up a fake number so you can text them on that date, then show up in person and watch the whole thing go down? I mean, that’s a lot of work. If you’re devoting more than 20 minutes of any day to privately shaming strangers, you might want to reconsider some of your life choices. Just ask yourself this question: “Is the sort of the thing the lead character in a 1970’s Scorsese film might do before going on a violent killing spree?” If the answer is yes, or even maybe yes, then perhaps you should take the night off. And sign up for Kettle of Fish, because I really think you’ll feel a lot more at home on that site.

Back to Kerrie…

I think he realized this was freaking me out (did I mention he was in my house when during this conversation?) so he tried play it down saying he only messed with the “real assholes” on there. This prompted me to make an awkward Dexter reference- which oddly seemed to offend him. Seriously? After a few more dates (I have no excuse for the pathetic-ness of that admission) I wised up, called it off and tried resumed my search on OKC.

And that’s how you know how you know the story is true, because even after admitting he was sort of a psychopath, Kerrie went out with him a couple more times. Internet dating: the only place in the world where a wackjob gets a second shot. Kerrie has admitted that she’s worried about every guy she meets now being a secret creep, but don’t worry, I’m pretty sure this guys is one of a kind.

Think you can beat Kerrie’s email? Give it a shot here

Posted in Horror Stories, Your Awful Stories | 10 Comments

How is This My Match, Boobs Edition

If only she Internet dated…

I have learned over time not to mince words in my profile. Initially I focused on being  funny and well-rounded, trying to cast the widest net possible. So I’d make jokes, and list every interest I’ve ever had or conceivably might have again in the future. I believe at one point my profile listed “sneakers” as one of my favorite things, as if the one thing standing between me and true love was a common appreciation of comfortable footwear. But after a few years at the game, I wised up. My profile now contains the words “smart” and “funny” approximately 400 times. Even sentences where it doesn’t apply, like how far am I willing to travel to find a mate, I just answer with “Wherever the smart and funny people are.” It has helped, for the most part. I don’t get as many emails from people whose favorite show is Two and a Half Men, which is nice, and the amount of LOL’s, LMAO’s, and ROFL’s I’m forced to endure has decreased exponentially. OkCupid however has yet to entirely grasp what I’m looking for.

I mean seriously, How is This My Match?

I ask for smart and funny, and this is what they recommend…

Maybe the left boob is named “Smart” and the right one is called “Funny?” Look, it’s not impossible that a girl who posts not one but two bikini shots in her profile is also smart and funny. But I wouldn’t say it’s super-duper possible either. Where they taken on the beach, perhaps. Posed in her weird nude library, probably not. I mean, if Tina Fey was on OkCupid, something tells me she wouldn’t lead with her rack. And if by chance she did wanna tit it up in a couple of photos, I doubt she would underline her point by posing in front of a mirror that was adorned with a drawing of a naked lady bending over. What exactly is that? “I want them to know that I’m into sex, but I’m not sure the candid bikini-in-the-living-room photo spread is sending that message. What do I do? I know! Let’s tape this crude drawing of a chick buying a one-way ticket to Bonetown over in the corner, just to make sure I’m not being too subtle. People are constantly telling me that I’m just too subtle!” Thanks, OkCupid, for finding exactly what I’m looking for.

But hey, it’s not really fair to judge someone based on only a couple of pictures. Let’s judge her on profile instead!

My Self Summary: I do not self-summarize.

I see. Well, I do not email people I know nothing about, so we seem to be at an impasse. A booby booby impasse.

I’m Really Got At: Many Things.

If only self-summarizing were one of them.

The number of interesting things I’m asking you to say. And still, I’m asking too much.

The Six Things I Could Never Live Without: My list expounds beyond 6 items and changes often. For the sake of posterity, I won’t bother to list it.


You Should Message Me If… “Dorks”, go away. That goes for you too, pseudo-“nerds”, who have never so much as cracked open a book, but who often have cracked open their ass for unknown, though potentially, gay reasons.

I’ve nothing against gays and find them to be wonderful people, but hipsters–you have to admit, those assholes are fags.

Really, because it kinda seems like you do have something against gays. I mean, people who like gay people don’t usually use “fag” as an insult. It’s quite a feat though, pulling off confusing and vaguely homophobic simultaneously in a profile that’s meant to seem attractive. And anti-intellectual, to top it all off. Are you an OKCupid dater, or a villain in a John Grisham novel? Because you’re checking all the boxes. And yes, all of those boxes add up to one thing and one thing only: smart AND also funny. Thanks, Internet dating. You’ve done great work as always.

I mean seriously, How is This My Match?!

Have a question, comment, or horrible story for It’s Not a Match? Email us here

Posted in How is This My Match? | 13 Comments

The Scariest Email I’ve Ever Received

Every Halloween, I think back to this email. I often wonder where the author is now, and if he’s killed anyone yet. It’s got that special level of crazy that is so specific, so genuine, that you can’t tell whether to laugh, cry, or run. It wasn’t sent to me, it was sent to one of my readers, in a segment I used to run frequently called Your Awful Story Olympics. It featured your dating stories, but your dating stories haven’t been as fun lately, I guess maybe you’re all too sane. Or maybe you didn’t feel like you could live up to this, The Scariest Email I’ve Ever Received. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween.

Here’s Johnny’s Email!

There will be only one Awful Story Olympic Medal this month, kids. When you read it, you’ll understand why.  In my months of writing this site and years of Internet dating personally, I have never encountered an email so bizarre, insulting, and borderline terrifying. Actually, it’s the perfect email for Halloween week. Like any good horror flick, it starts out strange, a little bit eery, but you tell yourself not to worry. It’s just an email. Then, as it picks up steam, you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck start to stand up, and you make sure to flip a few more lights on in the house. Finally, when the climax arrives, you’re so freaked out you’re locking the front door and checking for the monster hiding under your bed. It’s just that upsetting. To this month’s other entrants, don’t worry, you’ll be back in the running in November. Sadly, this month, you never stood a chance.

The Gold

An email received by Kelly A. in the Bay area. Keep in mind, she’s a nurse…


I’m interested in an email correspondence.

I see you only want to go 25 miles for a boyfriend. We’re about 110 miles apart. We can discuss the distance through email further if it is your main concern of yours, (I don’t mean to sound like this is a business contract) I’ll start with this:

1. If you spend $40 a trip once a month for the day, the weekend, whatever, you’d spend about $480 in a year running back and forth. Possibly less depending on the kind of car you drive. I would come down of course too.

2. I feel like there is something wrong with the guys in the valley/bay area otherwise they’d already be taken. The reason I’m not taken, hardly anyone is willing to go the distance. Even from the Modesto, Stockton area.

3. We can discuss initial dating and how that could work through email if this is a concern of yours. We could meet in Tracy for an initial meeting. Then I’d be willing to come to San Ramon for a couple of half-day type dates. This plan isn’t set in stone but I’m trying to say you wouldn’t have to spend much money on travel in the course of getting to know me.

4. If the relationship worked out I have quite a bit of flexibility (when I can take time off work) and I can often come for 3 or 4 day weekends.

5. I’ve been doing this online dating thing for about three years off and on and I see the same women come on here again and again, I doubt you will find anyone in your area.

The reason I haven’t emailed you is because of your dog. I don’t usually email anyone with a dog. I don’t have a fenced yard. I live on a steep hill and it gets too cold to leave dog’s outside at night where I’m at. Do you have a relative you could drop that dog off with when you would come to visit me?

I’m from Fremont and my parents still have a condo there. I could stay in it during initial dating.

I think one of the reasons you don’t want to go very far for a boyfriend is because you won’t get the same pay elsewhere.

The other major problem is that I don’t want to move. In my town, (by the way my county has about 60,000 full time residents) is Sonora Regional Hospital, which is a four story tall hospital, (and relatively new building). Also, Adventist Health hospital, where they hire RN’s starting at close to $40 an hour and they’ll hire you on part time as little as two days a week. Which would work pretty well in the event of a kid. Even if you couldn’t get medical insurance with two days a week, I don’t think the cost of medical insurance is an insurmountable obstacle. If this scenario were to work out, I would take care of the kid the two days a week you’re working, we wouldn’t drop it off in daycare or anything.

They recently changed the law on medical rates and men and women now have to pay the same rate (in the same age groups) and my rate went up to $114 a month from $100 a month. This is Blue Cross, but I’m on the $3500 plan which means I have to pay the first $3500 in medical expenses cumulative for the year every year but I get blue cross’s negotiated rate. Up until a year and a half ago I was on the $40 copay plan but the Obama care thing increased costs immediately (for several reasons) and my rate went from $160 to $217 a month and I rarely go to any type of doctor so it didn’t make sense for me to be on that plan anymore. Even these are surmountable costs if you could work like two days a week.

My neighbor is an accountant at Sonora Regional and he’s been there over 20 years. Recently I was discussing the feasibility of an experienced RN getting a job at Sonora regional. In the case of a girl friend moving to me. He said It’s a little harder now than a couple of years ago. He mentioned you could still probably get in after about a two-month wait. He mentioned most of the nurses only work two or three days a week. If we were to begin a relationship we could discuss this with my neighbor very early on in the relationship.

If my income bothers you, we can discuss that further through email. I’ve gotten in trouble before bragging to women on here about how much money I can make in a day. The problem is that you’re in a higher income bracket. If I continue making money at the rate I’m going for the rest of the year I’ll be at about 88,000 pre tax profit for the year and I have down time too. The last two weeks of June were very slow.

I don’t expect your email response to be this long and my future emails won’t be this long.

Hope to hear back from you soon,

Creepiest Motherfucker On The Face of The Earth

I’ve never written a post about what not to say in a first email, because really, where would I begin? But now I see. This is where I begin.

So…ahem…here we go.

When Writing a First Email, What Shouldn’t You Do?

  1. Tell the person it will probably cost them $500 to date you.
  2. Suggest, right off the bat, several half-day dates in a city your date doesn’t live in.
  3. Tell your date you doubt she will find anyone better in her area.
  4. Ask your date to please leave her dog elsewhere for the many, as of yet unplanned, weekends spent at your house.
  5. Admit that while one of you will certainly have to move to have a relationship together, state plainly that you will not be moving anywhere.
  6. Bring up the potential of you two having a kid.
  7. You know what, let’s do that one again. Bring up the potential of you two having a kid.
  8. Spend an entire paragraph explaining the intricacies of your current health insurance payment structure.
  9. Imply, or basically outright declare, that you have asked your neighbor about the feasibility of your date – someone you have never met, spoken to, or can even conclusively prove exists – getting a job at the hospital in your town.
  10. Try to comfort your date by telling her that she too could speak to said neighbor.
  11. Tell your date that you’ve gotten into trouble in the past by bragging about your salary.
  12. Immediately follow that by bragging about your salary.
  13. And, just for old time’s sake, bring up the potential of you two having a kid.

So there you go. Those are the 13 things you shouldn’t do in a first email. I’m sorry I didn’t list them earlier. I feel I’ve let you all down.

God bless you, Kate in the Bay area. I hope to heaven you have your front door securely locked.

Have a story that’s even 10% as awful as that one? Send them to It’s Not a Match here

“You’re crazy, man. You’re crazy.”

Posted in It's Not a Match Classic, Your Awful Stories | 13 Comments